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Estonia Works for Greater Co-operation with the Nordic Countries and Latvia and Lithuania


No 307-E

Attending the meeting of Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian foreign ministers (NB8) today in Vilnius, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet underlined that comprehensive co-operation between all eight states is extremely important and should be deepened.

Paet noted that he thinks it is important to make the common political voice of NB8 heard at  the international stage and, therefore, he welcomes closer foreign and security policy dialogue between the NB8 states. “For instance, when it comes to the Eastern Partnership, we are all convinced that the eastern region of the EU needs our continued attention and support,” Paet said. However, the Foreign Minister said there is still some room for thought on how to achieve even more together. “For instance, we engage in active daily co-operation to support the International Criminal Court but, sometimes, the world lacks sufficient political support for the court’s work,” he said.

At the meeting, the foreign ministers also discussed the future of the European Union, including economic and fiscal policy and the European financial framework for 2014-2020. According to Paet, it is necessary to have greater economic integration within the euro area. In order to achieve smart growth, it is necessary to pay attention to structural reforms on the job market, improve the quality of education, continue to endorse scientific and development activities and innovation, and take advantage of digital possibilities. “Our region also needs to move on with developing a digital common market,” he added.

Speaking about energy, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that for Estonia, it is essential to do  away with so-called energy islands by 2015. “The more different connections we have in the Nordic-Baltic region, the more efficient and flexible we are and the greater is Estonia’s energy security,” he emphasised.

The Nordic and Baltic foreign ministers discussed important international developments, including the situation in the Middle East and Syria.

The foreign ministers also met with the President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaitė.

NB8 is a regional co-operation format, comprising Sweden, Finland, Norway, Iceland, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Estonia will hold the presidency of NB8 in 2014, the same year we take over co-ordinating the Baltic Co-operation and the Council of the Baltic Sea States. Estonia plans to name 2014 the Baltic Sea Year, and one aim is to achieve greater accord and practical contacts between the various co-operation formats.

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